I don’t know that your contribution to the group has ever been properly recognized.
I may have been the figurehead but we were a team, I have no doubt that without your persistence, loyalty and humor we would never have achieved the success we did.
30 offices in NSW had changed colors from the ERA network to the new Ray White identity by early 1988, and new offices were starting to come aboard.
It was your idea to charter a boat for Australia Day, this was to be a huge celebration of 200 years of Euopean settlement in Autralia.
The day was wonderful, Sas and the kids were with us, Brian and Paul came down from Brisbane and I think, we even convinced Myf to come up from Melbourne. Anyway, the boat was full of friends, family and a selection of our best and brightest. The harbor was awash with pleasure craft of all types and the sun shone on this special day.
The dramas and uncertainty of 1987 had been left behind and we were full of confidence.
By the end of 1988 we had 77 offices in NSW, more than doubling the number of offices in this state.
Perhaps most importantly; average turnover per office had increased by at least 100%.
The result of this combined growth, meant total turnover for the State had increased by over 300% in a little over a year.
My little team had achieved far beyond even our own expectations, but there was still a lot of work to be done. We were acutely aware of the fragility of this growth and we were working tirelessly to continue the pattern.
In early 1988 we were aware of the need to appoint an in-house Auctioneer, you and I had been sharing this role and, whilst this gave us a much-needed insight into the workings of our offices and meant we were talking with our people virtually on a weekly basis, it was very apparent, we could not continue with this added workload.
Both of us were working close to 15 hour days for most of the week, starting around 7.00 am and often not finishing until later in the night.
Obviously, we could not maintain this pace, especially as most weekends, we were also needed to do a series of Auctions across the state.
I spoke with you about who could fill this role, we wanted someone who would share our vision and match our passion.
We spoke to a lot of professional auctioneers and soon realized we were not going to find our man in their ranks. The more established ones, viewed us as outsiders, as not being part of the establishment clique, whilst the others baulked at the workload we were expecting.
It was over a Scotch late one night, when I floated the idea of Tony.
You had known Tony from our Wagga days and I had known him for most my life, he and his father had often sold stud stock for my father.
Tony, alias the “Flying Auctioneer” was a renegade, he had fallen on tough times after his Albury business had failed and had retreated to Western Queensland to lick his wounds and to edit the local paper for an old Rugby mate.
My father was fond of Tony but used to raise his eyebrows at many of Tone’s more outlandish statements or escapades.
“Bruce, he is mad” was your first reaction when I mentioned his name.
“And we are not?” was my reply
I convinced Tony to come and talk with us and then to meet Brian and Paul. Tony could “charm his way through a needle to get to heaven” so Brian and Paul were putty in his hands.
Our mad, broken two-pronged pitchfork now had its third prong as we continued our march towards market supremacy.
The htree of us solved many of the problems of the world over our late-night dinners at City Extra on Circular Quay. We were all running in different directions, but we would meet there once a week to catch up, discuss the week and simply enjoy the irony of three boys from the bush, matching it with the big boys and having fun in the big city.
Those were wonderful days old mate.